The Anthony Godby Johnson Hoax – What is Truth?

Despite the fact that, all these years later, almost everyone has come to the conclusion that Anthony Godby Johnson was a hoax, I am aware that it is not an unsolved murder.

If you are unfamiliar with:

The best-selling autobiographical memoir A Rock and a Hard Place: One Boy’s Triumphant Story was written by AGJ, a purported child, about his upbringing in a horrifyingly violent and sexually abusive environment.

Anthony was reportedly HIV-positive and living with AIDS at the time the book was written as a result of these abuses and the fact that his parents had forced him to become a prostitute when he was a young child.

According to his narrative, his father, a former NYPD cop, was murdered in prison and his parents were detained and tried for the abuses. Anthony’s life was continuously in danger due to those involved and the claim that other officers assisted in the rape of Anthony.

After his parents were detained, Anthony was adopted by Vicki Johnson, who, pretending to be guarding his privacy, became overly protective of him.

Anthony’s narrative had an impact. Even Anthony and Armistead Maupin, a writer, were friends with Keith Olbermann. Even though no one had ever met him in person, he was able to develop a number of relationships over the years despite his caretaker/adoptive mother using his privacy and illness as justifications to deny visitors.

Olbermann eventually grew suspicious of everything and discovered that Anthony’s voice was strikingly similar to Viki’s. He later engaged a private detective and came to the conclusion that Anthony Godby Johnson did not exist.

He was untrue.

Along with Armistead Maupin, who I already discussed, other people were conned. The Night Listener, a book by Maupin that was later made into a major motion picture starring Robin Williams, was loosely based on the events.

According to rumors, Viki Johnson left New York in 1997 and transferred custody of Anthony to a different caregiver. She wed a child psychologist named Marc Zackheim, who was charged with healthcare fraud in 2006 but passed away in 2009 before completing his sentence.

Although some people think Viki Johnson, actual name Joanne Vicki Fraginals, is still alive and that the death, like Anthony’s, was a fraud, she passed away in 2010.


In real life, Viki maintained that Anthony was real and never acknowledged the fraud. When ABC aired a series on Anthony in 2007, Viki’s attorney responded with a 140-page document that included affidavits that her husband and three other persons, who all claimed to have met Tony, had signed.

However, there is a tonne of evidence that points to it all being a fraud, including a picture that is said to show Anthony as a little boy. The boy in the picture was ultimately identified as Steve Tarabokija, a previous pupil of Viki’s from when she taught fourth grade in New Jersey.

There is probably never going to be a complete resolution to this issue given Viki’s sudden demise. But I’ve been interested by it for a long time. It’s spooky. I’m not sure why, but the whole idea has always made me uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because of Viki’s total dedication to the project, or maybe it’s just the idea that Anthony really did exist, even though I know it’s all a hoax. Perhaps it’s because she was so skilled at persuasion.

Even though there isn’t much of a mystery left, it’s still a fascinating mystery.

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